Sri Lanka sports minister's sacking could bring SLC relief

A view of a Sri Lanka player's kit bag ICC via Getty Images

The Sri Lanka sports minister who sought to sack the SLC board and install an interim committee has himself been sacked by the country's president, on Monday. Roshan Ranasinghe's ouster may ease the lifting of Sri Lanka Cricket's suspension by the ICC, though it is not a certainty.

SLC had beseeched the "top level" of Sri Lankan government to provide guarantees that there would be no further political interference in cricket administration in the country. Sri Lanka's president Ranil Wickremesinghe has not provided such a guarantee thus far, but his sacking of Ranasinghe could be an indication that he wishes the government as a whole to back off. In any case, it was Ranasinghe who most energetically sought the sacking of SLC's office bearers.

However, Ranasinghe has not only been sacked as sports minister, but has also been removed as minister of youth affairs and minister of irrigation - the other portfolios he held. This was after he had made accusations against the president in parliament, earlier on Monday. There is a chance his sacking was not particularly motivated by SLC's suspension by the ICC, which had taken place two weeks prior.

In any case, the news of Ranasinghe's ouster will be welcomed by SLC officials, who have feuded with the minister for about 12 months. In the press conferences that SLC held in the past two weeks, board president Shammi Silva delivered personal insults against Ranasinghe, as Ranasinghe had against him elsewhere.

Ranasinghe had also repeatedly accused SLC of corruption and mismanagement. The interim committee he had installed - and which was ousted by Sri Lanka's courts a day later - was headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, and also featured two sons of politicians with no known history of cricket administration.

SLC is understood to have asked to be suspended by the ICC in order to put pressure on the sports minister that had temporarily sacked the cricket board. Because of SLC's suspension, Sri Lanka lost hosting rights of the Under-19 men's World Cup, which had been scheduled for January and February 2024.